Differential Expression of Tetraspanin Superfamily Members in Dendritic Cell Subsets

PLoS One. 2017 Sep 7;12(9):e0184317. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184317. eCollection 2017.


Dendritic cells (DCs), which are essential for initiating immune responses, are comprised of different subsets. Tetraspanins organize dendritic cell membranes by facilitating protein-protein interactions within the so called tetraspanin web. In this study we analyzed expression of the complete tetraspanin superfamily in primary murine (CD4+, CD8+, pDC) and human DC subsets (CD1c+, CD141+, pDC) at the transcriptome and proteome level. Different RNA and protein expression profiles for the tetraspanin genes across human and murine DC subsets were identified. Although RNA expression levels of CD37 and CD82 were not significantly different between human DC subsets, CD9 RNA was highly expressed in pDCs, while CD9 protein expression was lower. This indicates that relative RNA and protein expression levels are not always in agreement. Both murine CD8α+ DCs and its regarded human counterpart, CD141+ DCs, displayed relatively high protein levels of CD81. CD53 protein was highly expressed on human pDCs in contrast to the relatively low protein expression of most other tetraspanins. This study demonstrates that tetraspanins are differentially expressed by human and murine DC subsets which provides a valuable resource that will aid the understanding of tetraspanin function in DC biology.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Kangai-1 Protein / genetics
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Tetraspanin 25 / genetics
  • Tetraspanin 28 / genetics
  • Tetraspanins / genetics
  • Tetraspanins / metabolism*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • CD37 protein, human
  • Kangai-1 Protein
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tetraspanin 25
  • Tetraspanin 28
  • Tetraspanins

Grant support

ABvS is recipient of a Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research Grant (NWO-ALW VIDI grant 864.11.006) http://www.nwo.nl/en/funding/our-funding-instruments/nwo/innovational-research-incentives-scheme/vidi/index.html, a Dutch Cancer Society (KWF) grant (KUN2014-6845) https://www.kwf.nl/english/pages/default.aspx, and was awarded an European Research Council Consolidator Grant (Secret Surface, 724281) https://erc.europa.eu/. KW is supported by a Dutch Cancer Society (KWF) grant KWO-2009-4402. This work is supported by the Radboudumc (PhD Grant to MZ). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.